(ATTN: UPDATES with more of Moon's message, minister's remarks from 8th para; ADDS photo)
By Lee Chi-dong
SEOUL, Feb. 16 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in emphasized the urgency Tuesday of significantly increasing the supply of new houses in an "innovative" way to stabilize the market.
He was receiving a briefing from the land ministry on its 2021 policy at Cheong Wa Dae.
"I cannot but stress that real estate policy is the most urgent task in this period, in which the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport should succeed at all costs," Moon said.
He called on the ministry to "leave its fate" to promptly stabilizing home prices and rents with a focus on a set of fresh measures unveiled earlier this month.
On Feb. 4, the government announced a plan to provide a total of 830,000 additional housing units, including 323,000 in Seoul, by 2025 through development projects led by the public sector. It promised deregulation as an incentive.
The move represented the latest in a string of policies aimed at curbing soaring apartment prices mainly in the greater Seoul area and other major cities.
It has underlined a shift in the liberal Moon administration's real estate policy that was once focused on loan restrictions and property tax hikes.
"We're in a situation that the innovative expansion of housing supply is necessary in addition to the current real estate policy," Moon said.
He called for the speedy implementation of the new policy plans made under the initiative of the new land minister, Byeon Chang-heum, so that the people won't worry about the housing problem any more.
The president also urged more efforts to promote balanced regional development for "sustainable" stability of the housing market, with Seoul, Incheon and Gyeonggi Province, where around half of the nation's 52-million population reside, stricken by sharp hikes in home prices.
Byeon, known for his expertise on city planning, briefed Moon on a scheme to foster the development of regions outside the capital area by creating hub-style "metropolitan blocs."
Also, he added, the ministry will push for an improvement in transit infrastructure there and the supply of various types of "affordable" housing to meet the modern trend of demand.
"We will open a new chapter in housing stability and social unity through housing supply and residential innovation," the minister said.
He pointed out that the local housing market remains unstable despite endeavors over the past four years under the Moon government.
New mayor of Seoul under pressure to avert 'garbage crisis'
Sino-U.S. tensions, tighter China-N.K. ties feared to weaken denuke efforts
Defense cost-sharing deal signals tighter, more stable S. Korea-U.S. alliance
Legislation on compensating virus-hit small biz picks up steam
Anger mounts over deepfake porn targeting Korean female celebs; more than 330,000 sign petition